Parents had concerns about their children even when times were simpler. The concern that Horton and his wife, Hannah have for their daughter is evident in this letter.
1825 – first day afternoon, 11th day of 12th month
Horton wrote to his daughter Sarah, who was at school in Columbus”
Mother asks me to “tell her to keep to meetings, to be careful of the company she keeps and not throw herself away” he follows this with his own words “I intreat thee my dear Child write frequently, and freely withhold nothing from us which would be interesting to us or or interestingr desirable or useful or relieving to thyself. “
They have, apparently, heard rumors that Sarah is becoming uncomfortably close with Samuel Forrer, who is not a member of the Society of Friends. Two months later, on the 13th of February, Samuel writes that he and Sarah were married in the parlor of a local minister, surrounded by a small group of friends to celebrate the occasion. Horton’s response is stiff, but he soon comes to accept and have affection for his new son-in-law.
I am impressed, when reading Horton’s letters, by his dedication to his family, and the importance he places on maintaining family connections. Some of that was likely the influence of the Quaker ways, but I wonder how much was a result of life’s uncertainties. Without antibiotics or other medeicines we take for granted, disease and death were common.
In July 1821, Horton’s second son, Joseph, left home to marry and return with his bride, Pharaby Patterson. This happy event turned to sorrow when the young wife contracted bilious fever and died less than three months after the marriage. Pharaby must have been loved by others in the family, as Joseph’s uncle chose this name for a daughter in early 1822.
Joseph’s sister, Rachel, also married shortly after her brother, and reportedly moved away to Kentucky. Rachel also died, in 1829, of bilious fever, leaving her husband with 3 children. In between these two deaths, Horton and Hannah also lost their daughter, Hannah, in 1825.
After these losses, it is understandable that Horton would hold his remaining family very dear.